Four years ago, during a speech in Prague, President Barack Obama outlined his vision for advancing nuclear disarmament, preventing nuclear terrorism and curbing the spread of nuclear weapons, a goal reaffirmed in his June 2013 Berlin speech. He affirmed that the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons is a long-term goal requiring persistence and patience.
Nonetheless, said Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance Frank Rose, “Over the last four years we have succeeded in moving closer to this goal.”
Since the end of the Cold War, “the threat of global nuclear war has become remote, but the risk of nuclear terrorism has increased. The traditional concept of nuclear deterrence — the idea that a country would not initiate a nuclear war for fear of nuclear retaliation — does not apply to terrorists,” said Mr. Rose.
Since 2009, the United States and its partners have taken significant steps towards realizing these goals. For instance, the downblending of 500 metric tons of highly enriched uranium (HEU)—enough to produce approximately 20,000 nuclear warheads— to low enriched uranium (LEU) by Russia that was required by the 1993 U.S.-Russia HEU Purchase Agreement has now practically been completed... The final delivery of the resultant LEU to the United States is scheduled for early December. The two countries have also worked together to convert research reactors worldwide from high- to low-enriched uranium fuel. So far, nearly 90 research and test reactors and isotope production facilities have been converted or shut down.
In fact, cooperation is a key part of reaching our common goals, such as ending the production of weapons-grade fissile material for use in nuclear weapons; seeking bold reductions; reducing U.S. and Russian nonstrategic nuclear weapons in Europe; and increasing transparency among the five nuclear-weapon states, all through cooperation with Allies and partners around the globe.
“The policies the [Obama] Administration is pursuing are suited for our security needs and tailored for the global security threats of the 21st century,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary Rose. “By maintaining and supporting a safe, secure and effective stockpile . . . . at the same time that we pursue responsible verifiable reductions through arms control, we will make this world a safer place.”